Winter storm watches issued for northeast Ga.
Up to 10 inches of snow possible in Rabun and Habersham counties.
When a complex of storms bring inches of heavy rain to North Georgia this weekend, some areas in the northeast corner of the state could see snow and ice.
The National Weather Service has issued winter storm watches for Habersham, Rabun, Lumpkin, Towns, Union and White counties ahead of the big weather event. A watch is scheduled to go into effect for Habersham and Rabun at 7 p.m. today and expire at noon Monday. A second watch begins at 1 a.m. Sunday and goes through 1 a.m. Monday for the remaining counties, according to the Weather Service.
Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Karen Minton said Rabun County is the prime target for snow and ice. While wintry precipitation could begin as early as 4 p.m. today, it is expected to ramp up heading into Sunday morning.
“Higher elevations of northeast Georgia could have as much as 5 inches or more,” she said. “The
lower elevations could have a couple of inches.”
The Weather Service predicts up to 10 inches of snow are possible along the highest ridges in Rabun and Habersham counties, as well as up to two-tenths of an inch of ice. Travel could become very difficult or even impossible, with conditions deteriorating as early as this evening, the Weather Service said in an advisory.
Most of the winter weather will be confined to the northeast, but Minton said she can’t rule out patches of sleet on the fringes of metro Atlanta beginning early Sunday.
“We could even see some freezing rain that creeps into parts of the metro area, too,” Minton said. “It’s staying out of Atlanta, but cutting into parts of Gwinnett, maybe even getting toward parts of Cherokee County, so we’ll keep a close eye on it.”
The best chance of measurable ice accumulations will be north and east of Homer to Gainesville and Dawsonville, according to the Weather Service.
For the rest of North Georgia, it will be mostly rain.
“Cold rain at that, and lots of it,” Minton said.
Three to 4 inches could fall to the south over today and Sunday, while 1 to 2 inches is expected for much of metro Atlanta and northwest Georgia.
The system is expected to move out by Monday, but some leftover moisture in the colder air behind it could result in more widespread snow showers, according to the Weather Service. Minton said it is still too early to tell.
“With our winter weather intact for this weekend, it’s going to be miserable outside,” she said. “You’ll want to stay with Channel 2 and our Severe Weather Team, because we’ll be updating and making minor adjustments to the forecast, the timing and where we’ll see the winter precipitation.”
The Georgia Department of Transportation is making preparations for whatever comes.
The agency has brine — the anti-icing salt solution crews spray on roads before sleet, freezing rain or snow comes through — ready to go to treat roads.
“Our crews are getting ready, doing some of those last-minute tune ups on the brine trucks, on our plows, making sure everything is running correctly, checking oil, making sure the tires are inflated, getting ready for what might potentially hit,” GDOT spokeswoman Natalie Dale told Channel 2 Action News.
Georgia Department of Transportation workers Mike Jett (left) and Bobby Garza prepare a brine truck for service Friday as severe weather approaches Northeast Georgia.